band members

Ismail Butera: accordion
Pam Fleming: trumpet, flugelhorn, kudu shofar
Melissa Fogarty: vocals
Michael Hess: violin, nai flutes, qanun zither
Dave Hofstra: bass, tuba
Debra Kreisberg: clarinet, saxophone
Reut Regev: trombone
Eve Sicular: drums, bandleader

music in yiddish cinema

One of Metropolitan Klezmer’s specialties is the fascinating range of music found in vintage Yiddish film soundtracks, from tango to tragic lullaby to tenement wedding dance. The band performs both little-known folkloric gems and tunes which show interchange between Yiddish and mainstream popular cultures. read more


Metropolitan Klezmer
Ismail Butera

Alison Chipak

Accordionist Ismail Butera, a founding member of Metropolitan Klezmer, plays a breathtaking array of styles, most recently leading Sounds of Taraab, traditional court repertoire of Zanzibar: Arabic modes, African rhythms, Indian film melodies, and Turkish musical genres, with lyrics in Ki-Swahili. He has taught at Buffalo Gap Balkan Folk Arts Camp, played traditional Greek instruments with Smyrneiki Kompania, performed Balkan, Mediterranean and Near Eastern vocals and instrumentals with groups Sharqiya and Bogomila, and formed the Balkan Brothers duo with percussionist Seido Salifoski.He has also performed with The Klezmatics, Andy Statman, Michael Alpert, Noga Group, Yale Strom’s Hot P’Stromi (including soundtracks of The Last Klezmer and A Life Apart: Hasidim in America), and Latin folk ensemble Chameleon, in addition to playing Albanian, Armenian, Israeli, Sephardic and Persian music. He appears on all four Metropolitan Klezmer CDs.

Pam Fleming

Enid Farber

Trumpet / flugelhorn / kudu player Pam Fleming has toured internationally with Black Rock Coalition’s Nina Simone Tribute, reggae stars Burning Spear, Maxi Priest, Dennis Brown; and global blues group Hazmat Modine, as well as nationwide with Natalie Merchant for Lilith Fair (also guest soloing with Indigo Girls, Queen Latifah, and Sarah McLachlan). Broadcasts: Bonnie Raitt (VH1), Rufus Wainwright (Letterman), “Li’l” Jimmy Scott (PBS Sessions at 54th St). Pam has also played with Government Mule, Easy Star All-Stars (RadioDread, Dub Side of the Moon, Lonely Hearts Dub Band), Cab Calloway, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Palmer, soca star Arrow, The Klezmatics, Buster Poindexter [David Johansen], Toots & the Maytals. She composes original world jazz for her own group, Fearless Dreamer, as heard on their two recordings, Fearless Dreamer and Climb. A graduate of Eastman School of Music, Pam appeared in a recent Festival of New Trumpet Music [FONT]. She performs on all recordings by Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos, and has composed for them as well. Her flugelhorn solo is heard in HBO’s SCHMATTA, and she performed in J. Edgar Klezmer’s hit debut. More at

Melissa Fogarty

Steven Toya

Hailed by The New York Times for her “delirious abandon” onstage, versatile vocalist Melissa Fogarty began as a leading child performer at the Metropolitan Opera, making her adult debut with New York City Opera in Mark Morris’ production of Purcell’s King Arthur, then singing The Magic Flute at Battery Park. Other acclaimed recent roles: Ottavia (Opera Omnia’s Coronation of Poppea at Le Poisson Rouge) & New York City Opera’s Vox Fest for new opera (2007-2009). A favorite of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici, she has performed many of his works, including world premieres (written with Melissa in mind) at Symphony Space. She has also sung with Seattle Baroque, Ensemble for the Seicento, new music North/South Consonance, and Sequitur at Merkin Hall, among others. A graduate of Eastman School of Music, her debut solo CD Handel: Scorned & Betrayed won accolades including an Outmusic Award. Her second recording, Despite & Still, commemorating the centenary of Samuel Barber, has garnered rave reviews. She received the Adams Fellowship at Carmel Bach Festival and Giorgio Cini Fellowship for study in Venice. Vocalist for both Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos, she also starred in J. Edgar Klezmer. For more info:

Michael Hess

Enid Farber

Multi-instrumentalist (violin, nai flutes,qanun zither) Michael Hess studied classical violin and viola at the Manhattan School of Music, and learned qanun (Middle Eastern zither) from the late Egyptian master Mohammed El Akkad. He is also widely known as an accomplished player of Arabic nai flutes and frame drums, and as an eminent performer of Sephardic music, touring throughout North America as well as Turkey and Lithuania with Alhambra. He has recorded widely as well as performing with Sounds of Taraab, Mogador Ensemble, Song of the Shtetl, Klezmeydlekh & Friends, Smyrneiki Kompania, Sharqiya, and other Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Greek, Turkish, and Persian folkloric music, theater, and dance troupes. Michael is a founding member of Metropolitan Klezmer, and appears on all the band’s CDs.

Dave Hofstra

Steven Toya

Bassist/tuba artist Dave Hofstra has played, toured, and recorded extensively in jazz, rock, blues, klezmer, and new music. He has performed with artists Bobby Previte, Lou Grassi, Bobby Radcliff, Grady Gaines, John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, Debbie Davies, Elliott Sharp, Tom Cora, Guy Klucevsek, Bill Frisell, Toshi Reagon, Luka Bloom, Marshall Crenshaw, Joel Forrester, William Parker, and Nora York, as well as Philip Johnston’s Big Trouble; The Microscopic Septet [Fresh Air theme, NPR]; Rachelle Garniez’s Fortunate Few; Casselberry & DuPree; The Waitresses; and The Klezmatics. A founding member of Metropolitan Klezmer, he appears on all the band’s recordings, and is also heard as a guest artist playing on Greetings from the Isle of Klezbos.

Debra Kreisberg

Steven Toya

Clarinetist / saxophonist Debra Kreisberg performs, composes, arranges and records with the NYC-based Latin jazz octet Los Mas Valientes, Brooklyn singer-songwriters Matt Singer and Steve Waitt, as well as award-winning klezmer bands Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos with whom she has toured in the U.S. and in Europe. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music with an MM in Jazz Studies from Manhattan School of Music, she has also performed with Natalie Merchant, avant-jazz ensemble Joe Gallant & Illuminati, accordionist/composer/performer Rachelle Garniez, Canadian cabaret Yiddish star Theresa Tova, Rochester Philharmonic featuring Natalie Cole, the NYC funk band D’Tripp, and appeared in J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files (Dixon Place, Puffin Cultural Forum, JCC in Manhattan). Her compositions have been heard in the documentary Making Their Mark: From German Immigrants to New York City Icons, for the German Consulate, Lincoln Center online (David Rubenstein Atrium), and in the Off-Broadway production of Yisrael Campbell’s show, You Can Never Be Too Jewish at NYC’s Theater at St Luke’s. She has been heard on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN Worldbeat, and on Showtime’s The L Word. In addition to her performing work, Debra is Managing Director of Educational Outreach at the 92nd Street Y School of the Arts, where she develops and implements arts programming for NYC public schools and also serves on the faculty of the 92Y School of Music.

Reut Regev

Trombonist Reut Regev, born and raised in Israel, has lived in NYC since 1998, touring internationally and recording with many projects. She plays jazz (old and new), salsa, rock, funk, Brazilian, blues, classical, contemporary, Jewish and Caribbean music with such artists as Butch Morris, Igal Foni, Firewater, Elliott Sharp, Dave Douglas, Frank London, Michael Attias, Anthony Braxton, Groove Collective, Ras Moshe, The Cuchimbos, Hazmat Modine, The Phantoms, Joe Bataan, Raulin Rosendo, Eddie Bobe, and Cynthia Hopkins’ Gloria Deluxe. In 2004 Reut was honored with the “Best New Talent” Award by All About Jazz. Her experimental jazz ensemble R*Time has released their debut CD This is R*Time ( Ropeadope Records), with more CDs also planned for her projects Brassix and Funbrasstick Orchestra. She appears on Metropolitan Klezmer’s latest CD, Traveling Show, and has also performed in J. Edgar Klezmer and as guest artist with Isle of Klezbos.

Eve Sicular

Steven Toya

Drummer / bandleader Eve Sicular formed Metropolitan Klezmer octet (1994) and Isle of Klezbos all-women’s sextet (1998) and has produced their five CDs, receiving multiple NYSCA & Sparkplug Foundation grants and Outmusic Awards and more for creative work with both bands. Her arrangements have been heard in the HBO documentary feature SCHMATTA: Rags to Riches to Rags, Showtime’s The L Word, The Royal Ballet’s First Drafts (Covent Garden), and SITI CO’s Score (NY Theatre Workshop, Wexner Center & national tour). She wrote lyrics and music as well as scripting J. Edgar Klezmer Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files, a 2008 TimeOut NY Critics Pick supported by NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs, which played Dixon Place, The JCC in Manhattan and beyond, featuring most Klezbos bandmates in its cast. Her collaboration with Yiddish diva Adrienne Cooper, Krankayt! Jews, Hypochondria & Song, debuted at The JCC in Manhattan. A Harvard honors graduate in Russian History and Literature, she has published and lectured on The Yiddish Celluloid Closet throughout North America and Europe, as well as working for YIVO Institute, Warhol Foundation Archives, and MoMA’s Yiddish film series Bridge of Light. Drumming since age eight, she has also played samba, R&B, Balkan, swing, Cajun/zydeco, Middle Eastern and more with The Voodoobillies, The Mazeltones, Charming Hostess among others on both East and West Coasts.

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